shoveling snow with red shovel

Posted On: November 1, 2017

Winter Roof Damage Is A real Threat: 5 Signs To Watch For

As temperatures start to cool and winter begins, the threat of winter roof damage isn’t something to take lightly – especially in a cold state like Minnesota.

If you live in the midwest, you know snow and ice damage on your roof can mean big headaches and even bigger bills. But what should you look for? What are the signs? And most importantly, what can you do to avoid it? 

Let’s discuss what we recommend every homeowner to know about winter roof damage and how to avoid it!

ice dam removal

Top Signs of Winter Roof Damage

While roof damage can be fairly daunting, it is also relatively easy to spot. Here are some of the top signs to look for.

Added Weight from Snow and Ice

This is something you have to be especially alert for, since Minnesota sees a higher than average snowfall every year. A large amount of snow can produce a lot of weight for a roof to bear. If your roof is old or already damaged, it could have weaker spots that are more susceptible to succumbing to additional weight. This becomes even more problematic as snow melts, becomes wetter and thus heavier.

If the winter brings above average snowfall and you start to notice it pilling up on your roof, it might be time to hire someone to remove some of that snow. This will relieve you and your home from unnecessary stress.

Keep Your Roof and Gutters Clean and Clear of Debris, Especially In The Winter

To protect your roof from snow and ice, it’s imperative that you clean your gutters before the first snow hits. Failing to do this can make your roof more susceptible to ice dams and snow build up, which can put unwanted strain on your roof. 

If you waited a little too long and are noticing a significant amount of snow building up on your roof, it is probably best to carefully remove it or hire a contractor. If you choose to go up on your roof, take extra precautions and remember your roof can be extremely slippery.

Clearing Ice Dams to Protect Roof Flashing

When enough ice accumulates, it can form enormous ice dams that can cause gutter damage and even tear the flashing right off the roof. Even the best gutter guards can’t withstand large quantities of snow.

If you are experiencing ice dam problems, you can use a hammer and a chisel to carefully chisel away at the ice on your roof to loosen it up. Or try a long-handled rake, broom or another tool to scrape as much of the ice as possible off of the rooftop.

If you want to avoid stepping foot on an icy roof (which is probably the best choice), there are plenty of contractors out there who can steam your roof to remove those ice dams and protect it from any punctures from DIY removal.

ice dams

Hearing Your Roof Make Strange Noises In The Winter

Houses are susceptible to damage just like any type of building. Anytime you hear a cracking, popping or banging noise that seems out of the ordinary, it may be a sign that your roof has experienced storm damage. If these loud noises are persistent, contact a roofing professional to take a look, as they’ll be able to recognize any damage that happened as a result of the weather.

If you’re curious and don’t want to call a contractor just yet, it would be wise to check your attic space. Here you should look for frosted nails, cracks, leaks, and any other signs of damage.

Melting Snow and Ice will Cause Bad Roof Leaks

One of the most telling signs that your roof is already damaged are from water leaks. When melting snow and ice have nowhere to go, the resulting water will find every little crack and make its way inside the roof. When this water freezes, it will expand and cause the crack to grow. If there is more heat on a given day, the ice in the spaces melts, leaving a larger space that allows more water to come in, which then expands again and causes the cracks to widen (again).

These freezing and thawing cycles eventually increase the chance your roof will develop a serious leak that can lead to expensive repairs. This is why most roofers recommend homeowners to get a roof inspection before the first snowfall. This will ensure your roof is ready for the coming winter and give your roofer a chance to repair it in time if there are any issues. 

Roof leakage, water damaged ceiling roof and stain on ceiling close-up

The Best Way to Protect Your Roof Through the Winter

At the end of the day, the key to protecting your roof and home is to simply keep an eye on it and make sure to investigate whenever you suspect there could be damage. Winter has it’s way of making any small issues worse so it is best to contact a local roofing professional to make sure your roof is in good shape before winter arrives.

If you happen to be located in Minnesota, make sure to contact our team at Northface Construction! Our team of experienced professionals are at the ready to provide quality inspections to ensure your roof is ready for winter. Contact us today to learn more!


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